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Parent Guide: ERB testing

During the weeks of May 8-May 19, students in grades 5-8 will be taking the Educational Research Bureau (ERB) online assessments. Brookwood has used these assessments in the past, and we are excited to re-engage with ERB this spring.

What is ERB?

ERB is the name of a nonprofit educational organization that oversees the development, administration, and scoring of tests for more than 1,600 independent and public schools. ERB offers a variety of assessments, and this spring, students will be taking several subtests that are part of the online Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP).

Why are students taking the CTP, and how does the school use the results?

From a school-wide perspective, the CTP provides a comprehensive picture of student learning and can highlight trends in achievement. These results guide discussions regarding where the school would like to focus instruction and where the school is excelling. Brookwood plans to test students each spring.

From an individual student perspective, the CTP can provide more insight into a student’s strengths and areas of growth. The ERBs are simply a snapshot in time of a student’s performance. Test-taking skills, nerves, and general unfamiliarity with standardized tests (particularly in the younger years) can affect scores. ERB results are always best considered in partnership with the student’s daily work and performance in the classroom. The CTP will not be used for determining placement in classes.

When and how will students take the test?

English and math teachers are working to create a testing schedule between May 8-May 19. The subtests average about 40 minutes in length, and students will take the following four subtests:

Sub-tests for students in Grades 5-8:

  • Math 1

  • Math 2

  • Reading comprehension

  • Writing mechanics

Students will take the ERBs online using laptops. Online testing means that we receive student data within days instead of weeks, which helps us use the information in a timely manner to make instructional decisions.

What can parents do?

Parents play a crucial role in helping children prepare for tests like the CTP! Your partnership is critical in helping students enter any test with a calm presence and confidence in their abilities.

  1. Make sure your child gets good rest. Standardized tests like the CTP require us to think clearly and focus—two things we can’t do without adequate sleep. So make sure you have a clear bedtime and stick to it.

  2. Eat a good breakfast. Like sleep, nutritious food helps us remain alert and fuels our brains. Be sure to fill up on good proteins and high-fiber foods (think oatmeal or eggs) so your child doesn’t get hungry during tests.

  3. Keep it in perspective. Children look to the adults in their lives to determine how to react to different stressors. If we hype up the CTP by asking about them daily or hyper-focusing on scores, we send the message that these tests carry more weight than they actually do. While small amounts of stress can help us attend to an important task, too much only leads to panic, which will always result in lower scores. Help children understand how these tests are used and how taking these types of tests can be learning experiences.

How will parents access score reports?

Upper School student scores will be uploaded to the parent portal on Veracross once testing has been completed. The school will communicate with parents when scores are available, and we will provide information on interpreting the results.

If you are interested in learning more about ERB, please visit

Please contact the classroom teacher, advisor, or Dave Samson if you have any questions regarding the upcoming assessments.

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